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How I Shot That: The Challenges of Filming Sundance’s ‘Dig’ and ‘The Case Against 8’

How I Shot That: The Challenges of Filming Sundance's 'Dig' and 'The Case Against 8'

Cinematographer Joe Anderson spoke to us about filming Toby Halbrooks’ short “Dig” and Ben Cotner and Ryan White’s “The Case Against 8.” “Dig” shows the perspective of a young girl who watches her father dig a hole in their backyard while “The Case Against 8” is a documentary about the trial that lead to the appeal of Proposition 8. Anderson previously worked on 2012 Sundance entry “Simon Killer” and short “Karaoke!.”

What camera and lens did you use? For “Dig,” we shot with the Arri Alexa and old Cooke Speed Pancros. For “The Case Against 8” we shot with the Sony F3 and the Canon 30-105 along with the Sony EX-3.

What was the most difficult shot in your movie, and how did you pull it off? Regarding Dig: Imagine shooting with four children in the Texas summer heat! Every single shot we pulled off was a miracle. Luckily the director Toby Halbrooks is great with kids.

The Case Against 8: For the interviews, we shot 12 different people in three different cities over the course of nine months. Keeping the look uniform was a challenge. Once we found the perfect interview chair and backdrop we actually shipped them from town to town to maintain consistency.

Do you think the shift from digital is good or bad? We have been debating the merits of film versus digital cinema for 15 years now. It’s time to put that conversation to rest and champion both tools.

What advice do you have for cinematographers who want to get to Sundance? Move to New York City. You need to be around friends who make movies. In New York you can do it for a living too!

Editor’s Note: The “How I Shot That” series is part of the Indiewire and Canon U.S.A. partnership at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, where we celebrated cinematography and photographed Sundance talent at Canon Craft Services on Main Street. 

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